Shelby GT350

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2018 Ford Shelby GT350 Overview

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 series was released in 2016, fulfilling the niche of dedicated performance halo for the Mustang brand. As before, Ford sells the Shelby GT350 only in the coupe body style, and in two basic flavors. The Shelby GT350 pairs ridiculous amounts of performance with everyday livability and practicality. Meanwhile, the Shelby GT350R makes some comfort sacrifices in the name of saving weight and ultimate track behavior.

From the outside, the Shelby GT350 was already unique among the lineup, with altered front and rear bumpers, side skirts, wheels, and fenders. But for 2018, all of the lesser Mustangs have been given a comprehensive facelift, setting the GT350 even further apart as it continues on with the old look. Inside, however, there’s less ceremony. The Shelby GT350 benefits from Recaro racing seats up front, the traditional “snake” badges, and special buttons. The Shelby GT350R, meanwhile, gets hints of sinister red, like the badges and brake calipers, lightweight carbon fiber wheels, red interior accents, and a giant rear carbon fiber spoiler. For 2018, there are a few colors on the palette: Kona Blue, Orange Fury, and a unique Lead Foot Gray hue.

Living under the hood of the Shelby GT350 is a 5.2-liter flat-plane V8, aptly named Voodoo, which produces 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. While those don’t seem like truly large numbers in this day and age, it’s the magic of the engine that makes all of the difference. It revs all the way to a redline of 8,250 revolutions per minute (RPM). This gets hooked up to a unique 6-speed manual transmission and, like all Mustangs, it’s a rear-wheel-drive only affair. Of course, the Shelby GT350 is a comprehensive package, so in addition to the special powertrain, there’s a track-focused magnetic suspension setup, staggered front and rear wheels, and coolers for the engine oil, transmission, and rear differential, and a quad-tip exhaust with electronic valves. Standard line-lock and launch control rocket the Shelby GT350 up to speed, while giant Brembo brakes with ventilated discs bring it to a stop in a hurry.

While the Shelby GT350 is currently the most expensive Mustang sub-model, it isn’t focused on luxury, so standard equipment is about the same as a base Mustang. But the GT350 version comes with SYNC and Bluetooth, keyless access and start, HID headlights with LED signatures, LED taillights, and cloth/suede seats. Leather upholstery, a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, dual-zone automatic temperature control, heated and cooled front seats, and satellite radio are all options. Meanwhile, the GT350R has even less equipment. By default, air conditioning, the radio, lots of sound insulation, and the rear seat are all deleted, in order to shave precious pounds off of the car’s weight. For a premium, this equipment can all be added back in, however, including the back seat for 2018.

Given its mission in life, safety equipment on the Shelby GT350 is limited to the usual bevy of airbags and a reversing camera. Advanced features seen on other Mustang variants, like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection, automatic emergency braking, and rear parking sensors aren’t standard or available. That said, the basic Mustang body shell achieved decent crash scores during its 2018 battery of tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 remains one of the least expensive and most hassle-free ways to get a track-bred car from the factory. Look for even more improvements in the future, and for the model to be dethroned by an even more-powerful Shelby GT500 model next year.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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